MANILA, Philippines -- Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte laughed off former Chief Justice Renato Corona’s plans for the future, saying his call for “transparency” has been plain “gimmickry” from the very start.
In an interview with radio dzRB, Valte said Corona should “get a refresher course from [Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares],” especially if the former chief justice intends to teach law, especially taxation.
Defense lawyer Jose “Judd” Roy III earlier said Corona may teach law in the future, which “would be very beneficial even to the lawyers in the local community if they would take time and hear his lectures.”
Roy told reporters after Corona was discharged from the hospital on Saturday that, “I think the Chief Justice is comfortable with the knowledge that he has set the new standard for transparency and I think the Filipino nation sees that so for the moment.”
Valte downplayed Roy’s statements, however. “He’s making me laugh on a Sunday,” she said.
She said that if the defense team of Corona is referring to the bank waiver, “we did not even see it until he was compelled.”
She said the waiver was only presented when “Attorney Corona” sat on the stand.
Valte insisted that President Benigno Aquino III need not sign a waiver on his bank accounts.
During his trial, Corona signed a waiver to show he was allegedly not hiding anything. He said his dollar accounts were not disclosed because of the absolute confidentiality in banking laws.
His defense proved futile, with 20 senator-judges deciding to oust him. Nonetheless, his call for other government officials and lawmakers to sign similar waivers has gotten support from some public officials.
However, Aquino has declined, saying his wealth is properly dislosed in his SALN, and that the SALN already authorizes the Ombudsman to look into his accounts .
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines earlier lambasted Aquino for his inaction.
Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action – Justice and Peace (Nassa), said: “He is strongly pushing transparency but he doesn’t want to sign a waiver of his bank accounts and other assets.”
He said he was disappointed with Aquino for breaking his campaign promise in 2010.